An urban rejuvenation project to reclaim river edge as a public asset

Project Overview

Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, India, has provided space for people to reside and generate income over many years. However, over time, the river polluted and became inaccessible due to constant neglect.  This project by the SRFDCL, Government of Gujarat, India aims to create a thriving people-centric network of parks, waterside promenades, markets, cultural and recreational facilities in heart of the city.

Team : Urban Design Studio, HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, India
Time Span : June 2011- December 2014
My Role : Design Development, Urban design, Architecture, 3-D Development, Project management, Print
Honors : The project won Prime Minister’s National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design, 2003.


On the banks of Sabarmati, the Riverfront market stretches between two bridges on eastern bank of the river. It has been designed to eliminate clutter caused by the historic weekly market by dedicating organized vending spaces for the activities, and to enhance livability in surrounding low-income neighborhoods by offering spaces conducive to social gatherings.

I have been a part of the design team and managed this sub-project right from inception to implementation.

Site Context

  • Vendors constructed their temporary shops on the road sides, posing danger for people from heavy traffic.
  • Illegal activities in empty patches of the site discouraged people from using the promenades.
  • Many heritage structures along the length of the site connect with the river for holy rituals on festive occasions. 

Design Intentions

  • The Sunday market needed to be shifted to a newer setting, to free up the city space.
  • Slum dwellers will have to be resettled in sites interspersed within the city.
  • Plazas for informal activities all-year round for the visitors and neighborhoods are desirable.
  • A continuous link between temple and river edge for a holy procession every year will have to be included in the design.

Design Masterplan

The Riverfront market is designed as an open air market with functional arrangement of 1200 platforms and zones for vendors to display and sell their goods. It also has amenities like seating areas for visitors, public washrooms, multi- functional plazas, vehicular access and parking facilities. A special tunnel provides uninterrupted connection from temple to the river.

Design Methodology

Conceptual Design

Brainstorming ideas through sketches and models to conceptualize the design of vendor platform clusters, parking facilities and plazas

Schematic Design

Concepts translated into more detailed tangible forms through 3-D visualizations. Basic elements of the design detailed out to finalize overall feel and form of the place and structures.

Detail Design

Schematic design thoroughly scrutinized and detailed to resolve all technical specifications with various service agencies. After careful analysis of services and details, execution drawings released to commence work on site.

Site Execution


User Validation

The Riverfront market has been made open to public since 2014. It was designed with an intention of formalizing weekly market, in turn it has succeeded in building a tradition of other seasonal markets throughout the week, all year round. The space has not only revitalized the entire experience of shopping in the downtown area by freeing up congested areas, but also rejuvenated the surrounding low-income neighborhoods. Living in one of the most congested areas of the city, the residents now enjoy large open spaces for recreational purposes.